Host: Ken Hardison, PILMMA
Guest Speaker: Alex Valencia, WDW
At the PILMMA Summit 2016, Ken Hardison invites Alex Valencia to the stage to discuss the ins and outs of blogging for law firms. Alex conjures Shakespeare to beg the question of whether it’s worth a law firm’s time to blog. (It is.)
He talks about knowing your audience, organizing your posts, and creating a blogging calendar to stay on track. Alex discusses the merits of companies like BuzzSumo and SEMRush to help you organize your content and how to use Google Analytics to track your content’s performance. The key takeaway is that your blog should help Google index your content and drive more traffic to other pages on your site, like transactional practice area pages that convert users into leads and cases.
So we’re getting ready to crank back up. But one of the things I asked you before was how many people in this room believe they are incredibly optimistic? Great. Now I’m going to, I have a challenge and normally, I go through a little story I tell you about a study done at Harvard, but I have to bypass that because of time. But I believe, and I can challenge anybody in this room, I am the most optimistic person in this room by far. Who wants to challenge me? Raise your hand. No challengers.
One person. There you go. Good. Now I’m going to prove it to you. You ready? How many bald men carry a comb? If you’re a bald man, you’re carrying a comb, there’s only one other person that can beat me and that’s the bald man with a hair dryer.
I believe one of the secret ingredients to keeping life really enjoyable is you must be optimistic. All right, so let’s turn our attention back to our speakers. Our next speaker, Alex Valencia, is going to share with us whether you should blog or whether you shouldn’t, and I’m really excited to hear what he has to say. So will you please help me welcome to the stage with a thunderous round of applause, Mr. Alex Valencia.
Good morning. Good morning. So for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Alex Valencia. I own a company called We Do Web Content. You might ask, what do we do? Well, we do web content. We’ve been developing content strategies for attorneys since 2009. One of our biggest successes was here yesterday. His name is Ken Laban.
We started writing for him in 2008 and built his site up to 35,000 visits per month in about four months. Content alone, no SEO, no link building. Unfortunately, that no longer happens because the internet has been saturated by content.
So we’ve learned a lot this week. We’ve learned about creative assets, link building, and schema. I learned if I put hemorrhoid cream under my eyes, I would look better. Thank you, Michelle. But we haven’t talked too much about content. So we’ve all heard of blogging. Why should we blog? Should we blog or whether or not? So with that said, I thought I’d write a poem about it.
To blog or not to blog. That is the question. And you guys can join me here. “Whether ’tis smarter in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of Google’s outrageous metrics, or to take arms against a sea of content and by opposing, create better content. To blog, to write thin content no more. And by writing better content to say we end the saturation of thin content and the thousand natural links from India. ‘Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished to blog, to write. To sleep, for chance to dream. Aye, there’s the rub for in that sleep we gain more traffic…by doing nothing. When we have shuffled off this cumbersome task of writing must give us pause and think of a strategy. There’s the respect that your users and Google deserve. For who would bear the whips and scorns of Google’s panda and thin content, manual actions, the pangs of drops in traffic, the insolence of Google, and the spurns of rankings?”
Oh, and a note, I think I changed Shakespeare by at least 65% so it’s not plagiarism. So don’t go and start writing and copying stuff, and you heard content. So why should we blog? I mean, content and SEO go hand in hand. We know content is one of the major things that you need for link building. Like I said earlier, it’s not the time when you can just throw up content on a website and expect it to perform. But if you’re not going to do anything else, content is important because people are searching; they’re looking for it.
All these awesome other SEO companies that are here, I mean Conrad Sam, Consultwebs, EverConvert. I mean you guys have the pick of the litter. These guys are some of the best legal digital marketing firms that you can ever work with. They’re giving you tons of awesome information and a lot of them work with us directly for developing their content. So in essence, we might still be working together.
So, why should we blog? Again, content and SEO go together. If you like to write, hey, it could be therapeutic as well. The numbers don’t lie. I mean, look at these numbers. 55% more website visitors for companies that blog. So if you’re creating content, you’re naturally developing content. And if it’s awesome content, people are going to link to it.
And Google, I mean, if content wasn’t important, Google wouldn’t have it in their webmaster guidelines; these are the guidelines for bloggers on what you should be doing. And you don’t have to read through this now. If you’re lucky, I’ll send you the slides. No, you’re going to get them anyways. Not that lucky. So content is king. We’ve heard that from the beginning. Content is king; it is very important. But again, you don’t get anywhere without authority. It is important that you’re working with someone to develop those links or try to do it yourself locally in the community.
The easiest links that you can possibly get are going to be some of your directory listings, social media, I mean at least do that if you’re not doing anything, at the least. Content’s so important that it was part of the periodic table of SEO success by Search Engine Land; content helps you develop and index more pages and quote from Conrad Sam, good friend of mine. “It helps generate long tail keywords,” which David Haskins was talking about so eloquently yesterday. So there’s the periodic table.
The number one thing on that periodic table of SEO success is nothing less than, (wow, you guys aren’t paying attention) content. Sea of content. There you go. So before you begin the blog, what do you want to do? I say audit your website. Because we’ve run into so many websites where if we’re not working with them or they’re not working with an agency, it is broken. It’s important to know that your website is technically healthy. So get someone; some of these guys are offering free audits. Make sure your website is technically sound because you don’t want to throw up your awesome content on a website that doesn’t work. It’s like putting rims on a shitty car.
So when you’re developing content, it’s important to pinpoint who and what you’re creating content for: the who, the what, and the why. You know your customers better than anybody. When we work with a law firm, we do intensive interviewing with them to try to learn everything about their marketing, who their clients are, who they want to work with, who they don’t want to work with is also very important. You want to make sure you’re putting that on there. Michelle is proof. She has it on her website on who she does not want to work with.
So, again, evaluate your website content and navigation. Make sure everything’s working. Look at the current content on your site, the navigation, how it’s set up, set up a silo, so you’re putting all your primary practice areas and developing everything that goes under underneath it. Before you start blogging, you want to make sure you have a base of content. A concrete platform of the base of information that you want people to have, and then you expand upon it. And you want to obviously repurpose that content. All the content, that’s the base; that’s where you’re going to get the information for developing all these other blocks.
Research, research some more, organize, and create a calendar. I like using tools like BuzzSumo. Obviously Google, SEMRush is a great place to look and research keywords and different terms and see what people are looking for. Ask your clients, your intake department about what questions they’re receiving. That’s good content that you want to be writing about. But again, organization is key. When developing content, you want to make sure you have a calendar and you can always reference back because the content does get stale. And if you’re organized with it, you can go back, repurpose, rewrite, change. If you’re writing about different statutes, they change. You want to make sure you go back and Google likes that. They want you to go in there and fix that page and update it and it’s going to get re-indexed.
So what if you don’t blog? I don’t always blog, so I created these strategies. Our friend here, I don’t always blog, but when I do, I use these blogging strategies. So these are the blogging types. Mitch talked about newsjacking before at another PILMMA practice area supporter blog, influencer, video, the interview blog, great for building links. Stats, you guys know stats very well, the How-to-Enlist blog and one of my favorites, the slide deck blog. So the newsjacking, you’re obviously finding information on the news that you can give your opinion on. Your professional opinion and write about that. These are easy opportunities for you to create content without having to recreate the wheel. The practice area support blog; I love this. We do a lot of this for our clients. You’re developing those additional sub practice area pages. This one’s obviously a blog that would go under your car accidents, but you can write about five things to do after a car accident.
These are all long tail keywords that people are finding. So you’ll see additional samples there providing the legitimacy of marriage, whatever. You guys could read. The influencer blog, I like this. I think if you’re in an area of expertise, there’s nothing wrong with going to other experts asking their opinion, curate it, get a whole bunch of opinions, and create a blog. They’re creating the content for you. You call the experts in your area and say, “Hey, I just need a quote. Give me some information about this.” You go to three or four guys; there’s your blog, post it up, and there’s your content. You barely had to do anything. The video blog. So one of our clients… “What to Include in a Car Emergency Kit.” I had to include that video. That was awesome. I’ve been cracking up and watching this video every single day.
I don’t know how much work these guys are getting out of the video, but that was cool. That’s something that they did that was creative. They loved it. They had a good time doing it. And it almost broke the internet and got them tons of links. I mean, that’s badass. The interview blog. What do you think Zach’s saying to Jen? “Hey Jen, did you see it coming?” What do you think he’s saying to, wow, I can’t believe I forgot Brad Pitt’s name for a minute there. But look within your community; who can you interview? And then these interviewees can send back links to you. So if you are interviewing special people in your area of authority or something, law enforcement, local heroes, local artists. Conrad gave me a great idea. I said, “Conrad, what do you think are good interviews?” He said, “10 minutes.” I said, “Cool, I’ll be done in six.”
Local artists. And so he said, if a law firm, in their lobby, this is kind of cool. You get a local artist and say, every month you get a new local artist and put their art in your lobby and expose it. They’ll send you links from either their art school or from their own website. Those are natural links and you’re also involving yourself in the community. So I love that. Conrad’s a smart dude. If you guys get a chance to talk to him, talk to him more. Definitely give Conrad a call and learn more creative ideas. That’s his expertise, man, that creative link building, he really makes a lot of effort to do it. Next one, statistics. You know, you guys know statistics, you guys reading, you know what cases you have and the numbers. Info graphs are great opportunities and diagrams. I mean use tools like Canva to create stuff.
I love that tool. You throw images, add content to, it’s very, I think it’s free even. So a statistics blog is a great way for you to do it. I don’t know if that’s actually correct, but headlines are really important. Make sure you’re adding numbers and something that almost seems factual. That is not factual, I made those numbers up except that diagram’s actually real, I stole it from the internet. And the how-to list blog. I mean I’m sure you’ve heard this one before and you’ve done it. The benefits of it are that it delivers dynamic educational content, it’s good for SEO, and it allows you to repurpose it. You know, you write a couple blogs and then you can create a list of additional content with it. The slide deck blog. This is like the sleeping giant. I don’t know if a lot of you guys are using slide deck, Slide Share, but this is a direct link to your LinkedIn profile.
If you’re putting something on slide deck that you created from other pieces of content and you repurposed it and then you’re sharing it and putting it on your slide deck, I mean this got 217 views in a week. That’s more than any blog he probably got on his website. There’s so much search volume on SlideShare, it’s ridiculous. And it’s a cool place. I don’t really know if people are searching for it on SlideShare, but it definitely comes up and it shows authority. If you’re a referral practice, it looks good for other attorneys. I have a family attorney in Seattle. Hers went absolutely nuts. She got tons of views and it is a cool way to repurpose your content. It’s not the boring old blog on your website and you get to have fun and play with some images and it’s not that much content.
So here’s a way to check if your blogging is working. You want to make sure that your efforts aren’t in vain. So if you start blogging, you want to make sure that dial’s going up, a steady climb. It’s not going to jump quickly, it’s going to be a steady slow climb that your content is working. But if you really want to dig deep and figure it out, you’re going to go into Google Analytics and you’re going to just select organic traffic. When you’re in there, you can type it in the little search, the blog, and if you look down, you can see how well the blogs are performing, and it’s obvious in certain time, but you can tell that people are reading these blogs, sometimes more so than their practice area pages. So it’s important that you’re creating this. So this diagram kind of shows you if you don’t know or if you don’t have analytics, make sure you get it.
But this shows you exactly how to do it. So you’re going to go in, do Google Analytics, organic, blog, check your blog traffic. So how can we help? I mean, we develop content strategies. I’m not going to sell you on SEO. There’s, you know, so many companies. You have the pick of the litter. You guys basically can pick and choose who you want based on personality and their efforts and the amount of work that they’re going to put in for you. These guys are all good. We’re all good. We’re doing it for your benefit. We want you to be successful. Ken Hardison wouldn’t have us here if we weren’t. Honestly, the group of guys that you guys have here to help you with your marketing, really, really, really care.
I mean, we had dinner conversation last night. Old friend of mine, Tom Foster, Conrad, EverConvert, John Ludwig, and Dave Haskins, ConsultWebs, and Dale [inaudible 00:16:34], I mean they’ve been doing this for years. These are awesome companies that want to just help you be successful because if you’re successful, we’re all successful. So if you want this, I’m giving away the legal blog bundle. It’s got all these templates. It comes with a calendar. You can download it, you can sign up for a free content strategy. So if you text NOW LEGAL BLOG4 in all uppercase letters to 4-4-2-2-2, you will immediately get all the information in your inbox because I am badass, and I use Infusionsoft. That’s it. Thank you so much, Ken Hardison. Thanks, my man, I appreciate it.
Come on, guys. That’s the best you can do for Alex?
Let’s put that payment song back on. And Alex, on behalf of Kennedy and the entire PILMMA team, thanks bud. We wanted to give you this as a gift.
Oh, thank you very much. Chocolates!
Yes, dark chocolate. It’s healthier.
That’s what I need. I got to, yeah. Oh wow, this, it’s awesome. Thank you. Can we shut off the mic? So, wow, this. Thanks, Keno.
Alex Valencia is an influential entrepreneur, marketer, speaker, podcaster, and CEO of We Do Web Content, one of Inc. 5000’s fastest-growing businesses in America. His agency implements game-changing content marketing strategies and produces top-ranking web content for law firms, medical professionals, and small businesses nationwide.